Posted: 7/21/2010


     Gothenburg, Sweden, one of my favourite cities in the whole world.  It is a comfortable and comforting place and fits like an old pair of shoes.

     Yesterday the sun was boiling hot here on the west coast of Sweden with 1,600 youth teams and their fans and families enjoying a summer to be joyful about.  I crossed the city on the Gothia Cup buses to see lots of matches in the suburbs and stopped for lunch at the old, historic SALUHAL, the indoor market downtown on the canals of this fine city.

     There are lots of old established food stalls with the freshest of produce from the local region and from the sea- I looked around and found a poached fish lunch with new potatoes, gravy, a salad, bread and a drink for SEK 55 at Kagesbaren. They also had an beef option and a vegetarian one. Next I visited Berglund and Wallden, a stall selling fresh natural cheeses, jams, honeys, chocolates, breads and more. I bought 3 scoops of ice cream, pistaccio, nougat and blueberry. Then Hannah offered me some sample of country breads and she gave me some cloudberry marmalade to put on it.

     I wasn't finished, being in a greedy sort of mind and bought a small basket of strawberries the size of golf balls for SEK 15.  In the evening I had a difficult choce. Either the spectacular Leaders Party at SCANDINAVIUM, the indoor arena where they have played World Cup ice hockey or go to the new GAMLA ULLEVI stadion for Swedish League football Orgryte IS v Jonkopings Sodra IF. I chose the latter in my friend Sven Ivarsson's corporate suite. First I stepped into Il PROFESSORE the pub bar, and then to the club shop.

       There is a large granite stone surrounded by flowers at the corner of pitch I at The Heden, the main tournament centre. I commemorates the first ever football match played in Sweden on this site in 1872 featuring Orgryte. The Heden was a training base for soldiers and the gravel perfect for marching boots. Later it became infamous with visiting Gothia Cup teams from 1975 when the fields were notorious for burns and grazes of those player that dared to tackle. Today the latesy artificial grass pitches have replaced the gravel.

     At the match I was greeted by Kristian Sundborn the club manager He went to USA to play soccer for Colorado College under legendary coach Horst Richardson, and stayed on to become coach himself.  Orgryte were relegated at the end of last season and this proud club intends to return to the top tier quickly. There were about 3,500 fans in attendance and the visitors won 1-0 in a fairly evenly matched game.  On Friday and Saturday the finals of Gothia Cup 2010 will be held here.

    To end a perfect day I walked back to my Hotel Vasa with Sven and we ate at a French Provence cafe called La Bouffe, right next door before going to bed and falling asleep watching Eddie Murphy in Beverly Hills Cop II on TV.